With one round down, the intensity is sure to rev up this weekend as each team moves one step closer to becoming a world champion. We are down to 8. Each team has worked extremely hard to get to this point. They have faced adversity, endured a long and difficult season, and time and time again proven people wrong. Now, they go toe to toe against the best that the league has to offer to see who will move one step closer to Super Bowl 51. Many will pick and bet on who will win each game and what stars will emerge. The truth is that none of us can predict who will win, all we know is that as fans of the game we are in for an extremely exciting weekend of football.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons: The Battle of the Birds will be an exciting one for sure. Offense vs. defense as the “Legion of Boom” tries to stop Matty Ice and Julio Jones. One thing for sure is that the loss of Earl Thomas will definitely be a factor in this game, as he was such a great leader for not only this defense, but this team in general. While Thomas’ absence is unfortunate, Chancellor, Sherman, and the rest of the defense are just as confident as ever that they can and will get the job done. It will be no easy task, but they are up for the challenge. On the other side of the ball, the Falcon’s defense will have their hands full with Russell Wilson and Co. Although their run game is nowhere near the same without Marshawn Lynch, the emergence of Jimmy Graham in their air assault will help them dramatically. Seattle was the 12th best passing offense in the league this year, while they had the 25th best rushing offense. Atlanta’s defense has struggled with their 25th overall defense having a hard time stopping opponents. As tempting as it is to go with Julio and the Falcons in this game, two things turn me the other way.
- Defense wins championships and
- You must trust Russ!
Prediction: Seahawks- 35 Falcons- 31
Houston Texans at New England Patriots: Many were surprised and even impressed with Brock Osweiler’s performance last week versus the Oakland Raiders. The Houston offense seemed to be clicking while the defense shut Oakland down without J.J. Watt. The Texans faithful are probably as optimistic as they have been all year. Sadly, they must go on the road to face an angry Tom Brady. Still upset over Deflategate, Brady has set the league on fire this year, and may even win the league MVP. Some thought that without Gronk they would be lacking on offense, but anyone who picks against Brady has time and again been proven wrong. If Houston has any shot to win this game, it is for their defense to get to Tom early and often, as well as keeping him off of the field, and for Osweiler to have a career game. Even with that, it just seems unlikely to put it kindly.
Prediction: Texans- 13 Patriots- 42
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: This game is sure to be as exciting as any game we have seen all year. The Steelers are loaded with playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell have been playing lights out football. While the Chiefs are known to be a slow pace team who, although they don’t make big plays, play error-free football and are able to win games. They are the Spurs of the NFL (well that’s probably the Patriots but you get my point). However, things have changed this year with playmaker Tyreek Hill changing things for this team. Not only is he an offensive weapon, but he can change the game on special teams. Expect him to play a big role in this game.
While the Steelers offense is as good as ever, many question their defense. Can they stop people? Well, last week they made it their mission to stop Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins offense, and they did exactly that. Now, Arrowhead is a tough place to play, and this is no steel curtain, but it will be good enough to get the job done.
Prediction: Steelers- 27 Chiefs- 24
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys: Many have tried, but none have succeeded. Will Dak Prescott be the first rookie quarterback to make it to and win a Super Bowl? Even with that Number 1 seed and home field advantage, he will have a tough task ahead of him. Aaron Rodgers… The man can do it all. He has shown this season, that everyone who questioned him, and thought he was done, should eat those words. While the Packers defense isn’t exactly helping him much, and will go up against a very good offensive line, number 12 could go up against anybody. Jordy Nelson will be missed, but Randall Cobb and Davante Adams are not ones to be overlooked for Green Bay. This Cowboys team has exceeded expectations this year, and with so many young players it will be fun to see them continue to compete and make it to the postseason for many years to come. But if I had to take anyone in a shootout in the playoffs, I’m gonna go with Aaron Rodgers.
Prediction: Packers- 35 Cowboys- 21